'A rip-off': Republicans demand answers as Rick Scott burns up cash needed for Senate fights

On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Republicans are alarmed by the rate at which the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has been burning cash — even as Republicans are already being outspent by Democrats in key Senate races — and demanding answers from chairman Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL).

"Republican Senate hopefuls are getting crushed on airwaves across the country while their national campaign fund is pulling ads and running low on cash — leading some campaign advisers to ask where all the money went and to demand an audit of the committee’s finances, according to Republican strategists involved in the discussions," reported Isaac Arnsdorf. "In a highly unusual move, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week canceled bookings worth about $10 million, including in the critical states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. A spokesman said the NRSC is not abandoning those races but prioritizing ad spots that are shared with campaigns and benefit from discounted rates. Still, the cancellations forfeit cheaper prices that came from booking early, and better budgeting could have covered both."

"The NRSC’s retreat came after months of touting record fundraising, topping $173 million so far this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures. But the committee has burned through nearly all of it, with the NRSC’s cash on hand dwindling to $28.4 million by the end of June," said the report. "As of that month, the committee disclosed spending just $23 million on ads, with more than $21 million going into text messages and more than $12 million to American Express credit card payments, whose ultimate purpose isn’t clear from the filings. The committee also spent at least $13 million on consultants, $9 million on debt payments and more than $7.9 million renting mailing lists, campaign finance data show."

All of this comes as Scott has been accused of going rogue, using NRSC resources to tout himself and his controversial "11-point plan" for GOP policy that includes sunsetting Social Security and Medicare and raising taxes on the poor — which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) himself has condemned. It also comes as former McConnell has bemoaned the poor "candidate quality" of GOP nominees for Senate, like Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia, most of whom were nominated on former President Donald Trump's endorsement.

According to the report, GOP strategists are enraged about the mismanagement of money. “The fact that they canceled these reservations was a huge problem — you can’t get them back. You can’t win elections if you don’t have money to run ads,” said one GOP Senate strategist. Another said, “If they were a corporation, the CEO would be fired and investigated. The way this money has been burned, there needs to be an audit or investigation because we’re not gonna take the Senate now and this money has been squandered. It’s a rip-off.”

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"Democrats are outspending Republicans by more than double in the Arizona Senate race; by almost two-to-one in Nevada and by four-to-one in Ohio, according to the media tracking firm AdImpact. Republicans are also being outspent by about $14 million in Georgia," said the report. “'Everything came together at once, and everyone woke up like, ‘Oh my God,’' said one Republican consultant. 'It’s been an absolutely disastrous two weeks for GOP Senate stuff on all fronts.'”

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